317 Evatt to Fraser

Cablegram 137 (extract) [CANBERRA], 27 May 1947


The following are our comments in respect of several recent matters which have been the subject of communication between the United Kingdom Government and the Dominions and of discussion between our High Commissioners at London.

1. Preliminary British Commonwealth Conference on Japanese Peace Settlement.

We are convinced that the suggested date of August is too late and have suggested through our High Commissioner that the Conference should be not later than July. Even this may be too late, and we have therefore suggested that consideration might be given to an immediate conference of senior officials which you and I could attend.

2. F.E. C.

We cannot accept the suggestion that F.E.C. or its members form a preliminary conference. The voting provisions of F.E.C. including veto make that body out of the question as a peace-making body.

Moreover, we see little advantage in a preliminary conference. We envisage the Peace Conference itself being held in several sessions, the first of which would be, by its nature, preliminary.

We desire to see F.E.C. preparing to terminate its functions and therefore refraining from taking on any new assignments such as reparation allocations which will obviously lead to prolonged discussions.

3. India, Ceylon, and other areas.

We note with satisfaction the proposal on Dominion status for India [1] and believe that, in the circumstances, proposal in relation to Ceylon and Burma should be reconsidered. We see great advantages in having any British Commonwealth conference in Australia held in relation to Japanese Settlement being broadened so that matters such as this could be discussed.

1 See Document 527.

[AA: A3196, 1947, 0.8443]